Garibaldi, si! Foreword



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GARIBALDI, SI!

FOREWORD

Garibaldi, in his day, was an international star. During his lifetime photography began to be used commercially, so that his face became familiar in Europe and beyond. He was handsome - which helped - a northern Italian, fair with a straight nose and a steady gaze. Not tall.
The gaze was that of a seaman. Giuseppe Garibaldi came from the port of Nice - Nizza as it was then under the rule of Savoy. He went to sea early, wisely taking ship after being implicated in the Young Italy movement. This early involvement in the creation of one Italy from small states dominated by outside powers was prophetic. The notion of the nation state was emerging from the medievalism of empires encompassing peoples of different languages, customs and creeds. From the American War of Independence and the French Revolution had sprung ideas of freedom, of self-domination, of democracy.
Garibaldi became a guerrilla fighter in South America. He was anti-religious and anti-royal (though he made an exception for Queen Victoria: "She's a fine little woman, so as far as I'm concerned she's a Republican.") In South America he became a seasoned campaigner and tactician. He then returned to Italy and led the glorious Thousand from Sicily to Rome. The unification of Italy was achieved. As the beloved hero of the Risorgimento Garibaldi could have become King of Italy. Instead he retired to half a rocky island - Caprera - off the coast of Tuscany.
Why is Garibaldi such a wonderful man? He was brave, wily and ferocious. But soft-hearted - he said to his men before battle or skirmish "I absolutely forbid you to get killed." He was blood-thirsty when it was necessary...he had his own men shot for looting. He was gallant towards women - an audacious, resourceful man, capable of idiocy, a man of heart - a mixture of Ulysses and Hercules. Today we would call him committed. To the cause of an independent Italy he certainly was. What was unique was his rejection of place or prize. As an atheist he expected no reward in heaven. What he respected was what was fair. What was decent. Above all, he understood the solution to heaven on earth - a life of simplicity.


Pam Gems

GARIBALDI, SI!

by Pam Gems


Copyright © Pam Gems

Pam Gems is hereby identified as author of this work in accordance with section 77 of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988. The author has asserted her moral rights.
All rights whatsoever in this play are strictly reserved and application for performance etc. should be made before rehearsal to Rose Cobbe, United Agents, 12-26 Lexington Street, London W1F 0LE, UK. Tel: +44 (0) 20 3214 0800.

http://unitedagents.co.uk/agents/rose-cobbe/. Assistant: Dan Usztan. Email: dusztan@unitedagents.co.uk Tel: +44 (0) 20 3214 0873. No performance may be given unless a licence has been obtained.

GARIBALDI, SI!

Cast requirements: nine men, three women.

GARIBALDI, SI!

SCENE 1. THE ISLAND OF CAPRERA.
We are in a rocky space with rough rocks for seats and flat rocks as tables. A view of the sea. Stage right a spinney, with a flat rock protruding.
WILLIAM CAMPION, in neat travelling clothes, enters, followed by a MAN who carries Campion's bag.
CAMPION

Are you sure this is the place?
MAN

Si, signor.
CAMPION

(Looking round) General Garibaldi?
MAN

(Proudly) Si! Garibaldi, si!
CAMPION looks at him doubtfully.
CAMPION

Would you be good enough to announce me? William Campion, of the Times.
But the MAN has ducked away into the spinney.
An ELDERLY MAN, SIGNOR B, enters, nods amiably to CAMPION.
SIGNOR B

Good day, Signor.
CAMPION

Oh - good day to you.
SIGNOR B

Fine spot, eh? Caprera, you know, is an island.
CAMPION

Indeed?
SIGNOR B

Surrounded by water, as indeed are all islands. Warm day, eh?
CAMPION

Yes.
SIGNOR B

It's the weather.
He nods amiably and goes.
CAMPION decides to approach a modest dwelling, offstage left, when he is startled by a screeching female voice.
FRANCESCA

(Offstage) Get out! He thinks he can walk into my kitchen in his filthy boots with two rabbits the size of sewer rats to feed all his hangers-on - get out of my kitchen.
GARIBALDI enters abruptly. CAMPION moves forward, extending his hand.
CAMPION

General -
GARIBALDI

Who are you? What do you want? (Grabs him.)
CAMPION

General, it is I, your English friend, William Campion, you invited me here - ow!
GARIBALDI

Speak up! Oh - it's you, what are you doing here - you're the - (searches his memory) - the writer.
CAMPION straightens his clothes.
GARIBALDI

What was your name again?
CAMPION

William Campion. From the Times. We met first in Sicily, General. I came out in a bumboat to interview you.
GENERAL

That was a long time ago. (Then he recognises CAMPION.)
Campione - my friend - Campione!
He enfolds CAMPION in a warm embrace.
GARIBALDI

Sit down - sit down - make yourself comfortable.
CAMPION looks round. There are no chairs so he perches himself on a rock.
GARIBALDI

(Calls) Francesca! (Then, more subdued, gets up) I'll - ah -
FRANCESCA emerges, slams down a tray with a pitcher of wine and three glasses, glares at them, exits.
GARIBALDI pours three large glasses of wine, limps over to the flat stone, places on it a glass of wine, returns. CAMPION looks across at the wine on the stone, watches as a hand comes out of the bushes and takes the wine. He looks at GARIBALDI.
GARIBALDI

Oh, that's just the spy.
CAMPION

The spy? (The MAN emerges briefly, doffs his cap and retires.)
GARIBALDI

(Pours wine for CAMPION and himself) They send them over to keep an eye on me.
CAMPION

Hardly surprising General. There are those who still want you as King.
GARIBALDI

And those would kill me for it. Your health.
They raise their glasses.
CAMPION

To the Leader of the gallant One Thousand - to the creator of Italy!
GARIBALDI

To Italy?
CAMPION

(As GARIBALDI crosses to refill the SPY'S glass) You have never considered what you might not achieve for Italy as King?
GARIBALDI

Campione, I am a man of the people.
(Pouring) Not a bad sort. Makes himself useful bringing up the water, chopping wood. I help him with his reports.
CAMPION

I beg your pardon?
GARIBALDI

Can't write his own name!
They laugh.
CAMPION

And the other gentleman - with the beard?
GARIBALDI

Signor B. Joined us in Sicily. Not without courage but a bore - unfortunately, by the time we found out it was too late to shoot him.
CAMPION

He's a lucky man. When we first met, General, you nearly had me killed.
GARIBALDI

I did! I remember!
FRANCESCA

(Screeching offstage) What's he doing with the stranger, he'll have us all killed - the man's a villain, you can see it in his eyes - fetch the pistol -
GARIBALDI rises apologetically, exits. CAMPION waits.

SCENE 2
An encampment. A SOLDIER washes himself, dunks his shirt. A SECOND SOLDIER lies back, smoking. A VIVANDIERE tends a cauldron.
CAMPION, in velvet hat, and with camera equipment, waits to interview GARIBALDI. With him is CAPTAIN BIXIO, raffish and handsome.


CAMPION

Is he a difficult man, Captain?
BIXIO

The General? God help you, no sir. Difficult? No. No, I wouldn't say difficult. In what way, difficult?
CAMPION

Oh nothing really. It's just useful to know. As a journalist you meet all sorts...politicians, nobility, your artist. (Takes out his notebook and pencil) I always try for a little background material. If you see my drift.
BIXIO

He's a brave man, sir.
CAMPION

Oh, no question of that!
BIXIO

Very brave. (CAMPION writes it down obediently.) Never eats.
CAMPION

I beg your pardon?
BIXIO

(Indicates for CAMPION to write) Just bread and apples.
CAMPION

Good Lord. Drink?
BIXIO

Not a lot. Watch his temper.
CAMPION

Ah, yes. Are there any...areas to avoid?
BIXIO

No, he'll go anywhere.
CAMPION

What? Oh...yes.
BIXIO gestures CAMPION to sit.

The FIRST SOLDIER dunks his shirt in the washing bowl, swings it round to get rid of the water, wets the other SOLDIER. They fight. BIXIO and CAMPION are forced to move out of the way. One SOLDIER is wounded. The VIVANDIERE looks at him briefly, returns to her cauldron.
CAMPION

Captain! Captain, that man's received a knifewound!
BIXIO takes a cursory look, without getting up.
BIXIO

Scratch over the ribs...(The man staggers off uncertainly, dripping blood.)
CAMPION

He seemed quite badly hurt.
BIXIO

Oh he's only a Sicilian. Hullo...(he gets up.) Listen...!
CAMPION listens. Rises.
BIXIO

Listen...there...d'you hear?
Sounds of shouting, getting closer.
BIXIO

(Excited) He's coming through the lines -Garibaldi! Garibaldi si!
The cry is repeated, getting louder. Cheering and shouting. The FIRST SOLDIER fires into the air. CAMPION dives under a log.
GARIBALDI enters. He wears a red shirt and a poncho, carries a shotgun and a brace of partridge, which he throws to the VIVANDIERE, bows gallantly to her.
MEN

(Offstage) Garibaldi, si! Garibaldi, si! Garibaldi, si, si, si!
GARIBALDI

(Calls) That's enough, boys...

Cheers. CAMPION claps fervently. GARIBALDI sees him. The FIRST SOLDIER drags CAMPION forward.


SOLDIER

Hiding under a tree, General.
GARIBALDI

Shoot him - no, don't waste a bullet!...(The SOLDIER takes out a fearsome knife)...not here - we're eating, do it over there - damned rogue of an Austrian...
CAMPION

(As he is hauled away) I'm not Austrian, General, I'm an Englishman, here to interview you. I'm English!
GARIBALDI

English?! You're wearing a vile Austrian hat!
CAMPION

I'm sorry, I thought it suited me.
Laughter.
GARIBALDI

English, eh?
He crosses to a cauldron, fills a bowl, gives it to the VIVANDIERE who smiles in thanks, squats and eats. GARIBALDI fills another bowl, brings it to CAMPION.
CAMPION

General, thank you. Most obliged.
GARIBALDI gestures to BIXIO, who throws CAMPION a hunk of bread, GARIBALDI waves for him to eat.
CAMPION

Thank you, I'm very hungry.
GARIBALDI

Never known a pup who wasn't.
He watches genially as CAMPION sets to.
GARIBALDI

So, you're a journalist, Signor?


CAMPION

Here from the London Times to interview you, sir. Thank you. (As GARIBALDI gives him a red handkerchief to use as a napkin.) General, may I have the honour of covering your campaign? The world should know of the brave attempt of the gallant One Thousand to unite Italy.
GARIBALDI

Attempt?! Attempt?! We shall!
Turning, he notices CAMPION'S camera equipment.
GARIBALDI

Ah, you want my picture!
He strikes a pose at once. CAMPION leaps to his tripod, messes about, inserts a plate and takes his picture.
CAMPION

Ahem. Ahem...I've finished now, sir.
GARIBALDI

(Breaks his pose.) Good. Are you ready?
BIXIO nudges CAMPION roughly.
CAMPION

(Doubletaking) Oh...yes. (He takes up his book and pencil. GARIBALDI strikes a thoughtful pose.)
GARIBALDI

Write this down. Mine...has been a stormy life. Nevertheless...Giuseppe Garibaldi...has always been the foe...no... correction...the Sworn foe ...(he glares ferociously at CAMPION)...of tyranny and falsehood, believing them...to be... the source of all human misery.
New paragraph. I......am a Republican...such being the system for all sane men. However...I am not an intolerant man. If the English are content with the government of that good little woman, Victoria, then that goes to prove, that whatever they choose to call it...they have...a Republic.


CAMPION

I beg your pardon?
BIXIO

Don't interrupt the General.
CAMPION

I beg the General's pardon. No offence.
GARIBALDI

And none taken sir. (He takes up his dictating stance again.)
SOLDIERS

A song, General, a song!
GARIBALDI takes up his singing stance, sings a plaintive ballad - breaks off in mid-stanza.
GARIBALDI

Dog!
He falls upon a SOLDIER who is rifling CAMPION'S bag. CAMPION takes back the bag but GARIBALDI continues to chastise the SOLDIER.
CAMPION

(To divert GARIBALDI'S attention from the cowering SOLDIER, changes tack) Sir...General ...my readers are eager to know why you and your followers wear red shirts.
GARIBALDI

Red shirts?
CAMPION

Why do you all wear your famous red shirts?
SOLDIER

(Shouts) For courage!
TUTTI

(Offstage) For courage! The blood of the enemy! Garibaldi, si...red for the blood... Garibaldi... Garibaldi si!
Cheering.
Light change. The SOLDIERS go.
We are back on CAPRERA.


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